The Scottish Government is to fund a special conference for children and young people linked to the global Cop26 summit in Glasgow, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The Scottish First Minister said her administration would pay for the staging of the Conference of Youth event at the end of October – adding that she could not allow youngsters to be “silenced” on the key issue of climate change.
Prior to this she said the event had “always been funded by the government of the UN member state hosting Cop”.
And while the UK is the host nation for this year’s delayed summit, Ms Sturgeon said: “I don’t know why the UK Government has decided not to fund it – and it doesn’t actually really matter.
“But I do know that we cannot allow the world’s children and young people to be silenced in Glasgow on an issue so vital to their future.”
Speaking at the SNP national conference, Ms Sturgeon said the Conference of Youth would bring together young people from 140 countries around the world “specifically mandated by the UN to set out their asks of world leaders”.
Five young people from Scotland will be selected to represent the country as delegates and contribute to a statement to be produced at the end of the four day event, setting out what they want to see come from the negotiations.
Ms Sturgeon confirmed: “Young people from Scotland will be invited to participate, and they will join with young people from across the globe to present their demands to the world’s leaders in the opening weekend of Cop.”
The event will take place from October 28 to 31 and will be organised by YOUNGO, the youth wing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Cop26 summit is taking place as Ms Sturgeon warned that the climate crisis meant “we do indeed face a ‘code red’ for humanity”.
She stated: “The floods, wildfires, extreme heat and storms that have raged across the globe this year should be a wake-up call.”
The First Minister said the Glasgow summit was probably” the last chance countries across the world had to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, in line with the agreement reached at previous talks in Paris.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “The UK Cop26 Presidency is delighted to endorse the 16th UN Conference of Youth (COY16) and has been working closely with the COY16 organisers.
“In line with previous Cop Presidencies we are working closely with organisers to ensure the conference of youth supports ambitious climate action.
“This includes; funding to help with organising costs, advising on Covid secure planning, using our vast diplomatic network to support their youth members across the world, agreeing a visa process with the Home Office for COY16 delegates, and promoting COY16 as a precursor youth event to Cop26 across our communications channels.”